You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Overseas Programs’ category.
In 2013, YCI sent 80 exceptional volunteers to Costa Rica, Ghana, Guyana, and Tanzania over the course of the year. Together, this dedicated group of young people contributed over 37,000 hours to our international programs.
YCI values our youth volunteers who have demonstrated outstanding performance and skills, upheld our values as representatives of YCI, and for being continuously involved in their local communities. In recognition of these achievements, YCI is proud to present three awards this year: the 2013 International Volunteer of the Year award to Jessica O’Reilly; the Local Volunteer of the Year Award to Omar Mohammed Bakar; and, the Runner-Up award to Kayleigh Gaspari,
Jessica joined YCI during the summer of last year to volunteer in Guyana. Not only was it Jessica’s first time travelling outside of Canada, but also it was her first time on board a plane!
In Guyana, Jessica worked with students at a small education centre, conducting life skills session on self-esteem, communication skills, career guidance and IT classes. Jessica made strong bonds within the community, attending three weddings in the Guyanese community.
Since returning to Canada, Jessica has become involved with many different organizations and continues to make a difference. She helps students with learning and behavioural disabilities at Trent University Oshawa and is part of a Pen Pal program where University students are paired with elementary students.
Aside from her school-related volunteer work, Jessica took the initiative to contact, Restoring Hope International, the foundation that built the educational centre she worked with in Guyana to let them know about her experiences at the centre. The Foundation was so impressed with Jessica that she spoke at the foundation’s annual fundraiser in New York last October.
Right now, she’s back in school at Trent University Oshawa, but she also sponsors two children that she taught at the educational centre. Now that’s dedication.
YCI also recognizes inspirational young leaders from the local communities that we serve. We’re proud to present the Local Volunteer of the Year Award to Omar Mohammed Bakar from Zanzibar.
Omar first became involved at YCI as a participant of the Emerging Leaders program in 2012. Omar was incredibly dedicated to the program and joined as a local volunteer after completing the Emerging Leaders program.
Omar is a valuable asset in Zanzibar and has had a tremendous impact on every volunteer; supporting all YCI volunteers with advice, adjusting to the local community, and translation. He also goes out of his way to be a friend to volunteers, show them around, and to share cultural experiences. And of course, volunteers love him. Aside from his friendly nature, the Emerging Leaders program would not have been successful without his translation and facilitation assistance.
Omar is a very dedicated leader in his community and serves as an inspiration to the Emerging Leader participants along with the YCI volunteers. He likes to share what he has learned, not just from the Emerging Leaders program, but also from the volunteers who come from different backgrounds.
This year, we’re also pleased to honour and present the runner-up for the Volunteer of the Year, Kayleigh Gaspari.
Kayleigh was part of a custom project in Ghana with the IVEY Business School Sustainability Club. She is a strong and independent person, taking on additional responsibilities over the course of her placement to host extra entrepreneurship trainings to youth organizations that needed additional support. Kayleighy was able to develop and make clear, coherent and professional formal presentations while conducting eight workshops during the Micro-enterprise conference she and her group organized.
Kayleigh is described as always ready to take initiative and stood up for every challenge that came her way. She is an inspiration to entrepreneurs who are encouraged by her examples.
So there you have it, our inspiring volunteers who have made differences in their own way. Become a YCI volunteer to make a difference yourself.
When I first arrived on Zanzibar Island off the coast of mainland Tanzania, it was my first time setting foot on the continent I had longed to travel to. Africa had always attracted me. Everything about it drew my attention; it’s rich ethnic and linguistic diversity, its vast landscapes and wildlife, its unique history and often troubled political climate and its vibrant and lively people. So you can imagine I was thrilled when I got the opportunity to volunteer in Zanzibar for six weeks teaching the Emerging leaders program with the NGO Youth Challenge International. Being an overseas volunteer virgin I was not sure what to expect but what I found was challenging, surprising and a whole lot of fun!
The first thing that struck me when I arrived on Zanzibar island was the assault on my senses, the sights, smells, tastes, and sounds were all new to me. As I walked through the endless array of market stalls in Sokoni, Mwanakwerekwe the smells of fresh octopus and fish hit me immediately. I was not prepared for the sheer amount of market stalls brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables, spices and herbs, grains and rice, and the assortment of fresh sea food from red snapper to octopus, laid out expertly for my eyes to feast on. I wandered the endless pathways looking like a child in a candy store admiring the fresh produce stacked in their neat piles and enjoying the waft of cloves and cinnamon that filled the air around me.
I smiled politely as the stall owners attempt to sell me everything from dried octopus skin to sugar cane juice spiced with ginger. I declined the former and savored every sip of the latter. The local stall owners and fellow shoppers seemed to find my presence both surprising and amusing. I was visiting a market rarely frequented by foreigners or mzungu as the locals refer to me as, I am sure I looked out of place and disoriented by my surroundings. However, they took my naïveté in stride and politely welcomed me and offered me their produce at “the best price”. Once I emerged from the hustle and bustle I was carrying three spice boats, a loaf of Zanzibar bread, one pineapple, and two passion fruits and the store owners I purchased from smiled at their small victory. I felt 9,000 tsh lighter but I was thoroughly satisfied. I awkwardly dodged my way through the pedestrians, dalalas, street venders, and the occasional donkey cart to Kivulini Street. I only know the name of the street because I was told so, there are no street signs to speak of and I recognize the street based on the size and quantity of potholes that adorn it. One risks the integrity of their vehicle undercarriage attempting to cross its narrow rocky crevices.
Thankfully for this journey I am on foot. As I make my way through the street; I pass local shop owners, a car repair shop and a welder who looks up from his work to greet me with a large smile “Karibu Kwetu” (welcome to our country), “Asante sana” (thank you very much) I reply and pause to admire his handicraft. He is expertly welding gates for residential purposes the hot sun is beating down on him as he completes his work. His hands show the signs of hard work and his face years of experience, he holds his welding mask in his left hand, unused while he works. I give him a thumb up to acknowledge his craft he smiles and I decide to leave him to his work.
As I continue down the road I notice here are several goats grazing in the soccer field adjacent to my homestay and they look up as I pass by unimpressed with my presence. The hot mid-day sun ensures that football field is devoid of presence unlike after sunset when the throngs of young football hopefuls flock to practice their skills. As I walk, the neighborhood children call out to me mzungu…mzungu…mzungu…I smile and greet them with “mambo” to which they reply “poa” I give them high fives and they follow me with more children gathering as we walk. I turn right down the next road and make my way to my modest homestay, a refuge from the hot African sun.
Christine Hunter, Youth Innovator, Tanzania, 2013
YCI is currently recruiting for an 8-week project in Tanzania this May 6 to July 1st to work with our partners on leadership, health and education initiatives.
I recently travelled to Mwanza, Tanzania with Youth Challenge International, to volunteer with a local NGO, Kivulini Women’s Rights Organization as a Monitoring and Evaluation Innovator. While I was there, I lived in a rural village with a host family who had 13 children.
Before I left for Tanzania, I was told that my host Mama (mother) had 6 children living at home. Imagine my surprise as I pulled up in the middle of the night to my host family’s home to discover my host Mama leaving for a party and a small sized classroom of children waiting for me. That first night the oldest sibling was the only one to speak to me: “Karibu (welcome), feel free,” she mentioned many times. During my first few days whenever I was approaching the children ran away laughing, and hid behind the doorways or potted plants. I quickly came to understand that the majority of the children living on the family compound had lost their parents due to illness. My Tanzanian Mama and Baba (father) had taken the children in to become a part of their family.
Everything was different in Mwanza. I walked to work on dirt – and often flooded – roads, past farmers and free roaming cows and goats. I took cold showers and slept under a bug net. There were daily power outages and we only had access to an unsanitary water supply. The ants bit, and my host sisters and brothers ate their meals with their hands while sitting on the kitchen floor. It was easy in those first few days to feel isolated and a bit misunderstood.
After a few days, the children became less shy around me. As I did not speak Kiswahili and many of the children did not speak English, we had to find ways to begin to communicate with one another. One night during a power failure, I was wearing my headlamp and began to make shadow puppets on the kitchen wall. As the children and I played, I continued to ask them for the Kiswahili names of the projected animals. After this, the children took every opportunity to point to objects, tell me the word in Kiswahili and to ask for the English word. We began to learn from, and about, each other.
The village I was living in consisted only of other family homes and I initially believed that the nearest store was in town, a 40-minute dala dala (a minibus share taxi) ride away. However, as time went on, the community structure began to reveal itself to me. I soon learned that the little straw hut where two women cooked over an open fire was a restaurant serving the best chapati and ginger tea around; the house a small ways down the dirt path also doubled as the local general shop where you could purchase soda, maji baridi (cold water), phone credit and even toothbrushes; and the farmer I passed on my way to work was the man who sold my host Mama the vegetables that I ate every night for dinner. Everything I needed existed around me – I just hadn’t learned how to look properly. In Canada, stores, streets and even bus stops are clearly marked, but where I lived in Mwanza, you are only privy to this type of knowledge when you are a member of the community.
My host sisters and brothers work incredibly hard everyday to complete their household chores. They start their day at 6 a.m. with a prayer and have the house cleaned before breakfast. They are the ones responsible for the majority of the cooking, cleaning and often, taking care of each other.
I wanted to be included in all aspects of a Tanzanian family life. I helped to prepare meals, went to the market and played games with my host sisters. I helped my host sisters and brothers with their homework and went to church with my host family. I even learned how to braid my host sisters’ hair! I found myself becoming a member of the household.
By the end of my six-week stay, I had realized that regardless of differences in language, culture or religious beliefs, when you take the time to understand, live with and care for someone, they become a part of your family. I’ve heard it said that once you have travelled to far away lands you will never again feel at home; your heart is split between the family you were born into and the one you create for yourself. It was hard to leave my new family behind, but I know I will always be welcome back home.
-Stephanie Hanson, Youth Innovator, Tanzania, 2013
YCI is currently recruiting for an 8-week project in Tanzania this May 6 to July 1st to work with our partners on leadership, health and education initiatives.
How quickly two weeks flies by when its packed full of meeting new people, going to new places, meeting with businesses, preparing workshops, developing resources, adjusting to a new culture that completely consumes us, and trying to get a few hours of sleep in after absorbing it all.
Our first big workshop, as part of the All Girls Leadership Summit, approached quickly without us really noticing. We ran around the day before getting hand-outs printed, putting together participant packages, and putting some final touches on the presentation; we finally felt ready. We arrived early to the YMCA Vocational Training Institute Thursday morning to set up our workshop venue before the participants began to arrive.
Slowly, the girls from the YMCA school trickled in, helping where they can for us to prepare for the rest. Finally, everything was set up and ready to go. We awaited the young women. Keeping in mind “Ghana time”, we patiently waited and waited. Eventually, all the expected participants (plus some) arrived from Golden Gate Secondary High School, Nana Brempong Yaw Primary High School, and local church groups and we began our first Girls Leadership workshop with around 50 girls between the ages of 12 and 30.
Like everywhere we’ve been in Ghana, we were welcomed by our hosts with smiling faces, kindness, and attentiveness. We started the day with an activity to boost self-esteem amongst ourselves by writing compliments on pieces of paper for fellow participants. This activity highlighted the importance of self-esteem and confidence in leaders, especially female leaders, and led to each girl signing a personal commitment to loving themselves and paying it forward.
In this workshop, we proceeded to talk about important qualities of leaders and used reflective practices to look at our own leadership traits. Once we covered the basics of leadership, the Millennium Development goals (MDGs) were discussed, a new topic for many. We ended the workshop with 8 groups of participants who each presented everything related to each particular MDG and then highlighted the trends that extended across them all, showing their interconnectedness.
After assigning homework to each participant to boost the self-esteem of girls in their family, school, or community, and to consider what Millennium Development Goal they wanted to develop a community project for, there was a sense of positivity and accomplishment in the room with each person leaving with a little bit more knowledge and a little bit more confidence.
Overall, the workshop received positive feedback from all of the participants with suggestions on how the next one can be even better.
As I sit (on the floor) in the living room of my homestay with my host brothers all around (wondering why I’m sitting on the floor and not the couch), I ready myself for the next workshop, which is just around the corner, through the creation of more resources, more activities, and hopefully a little inspiration that each girl can carry with them as they move forward as leaders in their communities.
-Erica Downes, Youth Ambassador, Ghana, 2014
- Women empowerment
- Child marriage
- Street kids
- Corruption in government
- Drug abuse
Encompasses a small list of what my students are interested about. Their average age is mid-twenties and they’re all interested in tackling issues of this size. They want to volunteer at their placements and on top of that, observe other class members who have gone into at-risk communities to do their research on community assessments to identify problems and try to find solutions for those communities.
To complete a year long course of “Emerging Leaders” program, they are to complete two grant proposals from the research they have done from the previous course in how to assess communities. They find the weakest links of the communities and address those issues. As part of this, I have given them the opportunity to also be placed in another NGO that best matches their interests and to begin working on the issues at hand.
Not one friend I know back home actively pursue the interests of these likes, of course to each their own, but the idea of contributing time to make real changes in the world, especially with all the harsh criticism that’s vocalized almost everyday and spewing onto Facebook. The only thing I see back home are people complaining about what’s wrong with the world. Few take charge to write to their MPs. Even fewer still goes out to protests. And still, even less – and at this point I’m scratching the bottom of the barrel to say anyone I know – goes out to volunteer time, effort and commitment to try and change anything that they’ve complained passionately about in hot debates while we were hanging out.
Why do I feel like we carry this huge misconception in the “West” that everyone else in the world is lazy if they’re not “rich”. It seems the “West” is even lazier and all we know how to do is complain.
It’s not that the people in the country don’t want change. Everyone I’ve come across is adamant about it. They want change in the biggest way.
Even more so in the less developed world. I see the most enthusiasm for change here than at home. In fact, they are working toward it starting with the community level. Changes there influence key decision makers that eventually gather momentum. Most approaches and methods include contacting politicians and key decision makers to accomplish change.
I was not prepared for the amount of enthusiasm and energy my students want this change. They crave it. They are so hungry to do something about it. They are so motivated to make the world a better place. If we soak up even just 1% of their motivation and apply it to ourselves in Canada, the impact from that would ripple a thousand times and create change in the direction that all Canadians want.
My students are doing it, how are we as a more “developed” country so far behind?
A red sun stares down the horizon. The natural haze provided by the Saharan-originating Harmattan Winds protect our gaze from the sun`s brightness, but its intensity remains. Fred, YCI`s Ghana program manager, puts down his Alvaro Pear, washing down the local red-red dish at The Rising Phoenix, a relaxed atmosphere perched on the cliff of a busy beach cove. The seemingly carefree High-Life Ghanaian music of the distance carries well and provides some background to our free flowing conversation. Erica, in Accra for only the past four hours, is in the middle of a story about her experiences in Guyana and how those experiences will translate across continents. We are all sharing each other`s company for the first time, but there`s harmony to the vision we all share for the project and for the goals that we will see through and reach. The confidence is especially reassuring to me, as only 48 hours prior, I was angling the last of my meticulous notes into an already full backpack and carry-on, worried about the impact of the project, the meaning underlying one’s journey from the comforts of home, and most assuredly, on the minds of most volunteers heading towards a previously unknown part of the world to them, what we will discover – both personally and professionally – in new friends, in a new culture, and within.
A few short days of adjustment were not to be had on a personal level. We are unable to unpack and belong yet, despite meeting and making friends with many other volunteers from other projects surrounding our original homestay. The unique sights and sounds of the city stirred a restless excitement among us all, but the reassuring and ever-present smiles truly settle us in, whether they were from our most-welcoming Ghanaian hosts and even curious passer-by’s, who stop us with a smile and undoubtedly friendly, but curious greetings. Accra’s chaotic pace slowed down, if only in our minds. The spicy, red-hue of the food here forewarns the wary volunteer of another bead of sweat to fall from the forehead. There’s too much to take in. But a constant amidst our journey’s start are the ideas and plans that begin to populate our notes and schedules for the month. Our orientation is two fast days at YCI’s office, in a nice area that escapes description, if only for my own confusing lack of directional orientation. These two days allow for tangible goals to appear and the pervasive feeling that we will be standing at the end of the month, wondering in amazement of all that we will accomplish with a bewildering sense of a month passing in the tick of a clock’s second hand.
Our introduction to Takoradi is just as fast, arriving in the middle of the week, with much to do and accomplish, and even less time to settle in. We are fortunate to be able to share the company of two host families, our sleeping space in the company of the Adufo family, with our musically-gifted friend Kobina, and our meals are taken next door with the Antwi family and Nana, YMCA’s ever-smiling program manager in Takoradi, who we are also working hand in hand with. The contrasts in style, language, and pace are quite different than in Accra. Immediately, we begin running from meeting to meeting, sitting with everyone from the head of the youth authority in the region to school visits to brainstorming sessions to visiting with partner organizations, among which include IT4Teens, a program to introduce youth to programming and web development. Collaboration and community are center to making things work and it is so for good reason. We are all working for the same objectives and that makes introductions blend seamlessly into conversations that transcend our backgrounds. Good ideas are thrown around and as quickly, agreed and implemented into the plan.
It`s only been a short moment that`s flashed by in the form of a week, but like the Harmattan Winds blowing a hazy cover over the African sun, we can see the definable form of our project through a thin, quickly-disappearing layer of self-doubt. The view is bright.
-Evan Alexander, Youth Ambassador, Ghana, 2014
YCI’s annual Volunteer of the Year Awards are held in recognition of youth who have demonstrated exceptional performance and skills while volunteering on YCI’s international developmental programs and have continued to be actively involved in volunteer activities in their local community.
YCI would like to continue this tradition of acknowledging and appreciating the hard work and dedication of its volunteers by inviting you to send your nominations for our eighth YCI Volunteer of the Year award. This year, we are calling for two sets of nominations, for both exceptional international and exceptional local volunteers.
- The candidate must have volunteered overseas with YCI within the past year January 1, to December 31 2014. (This is for both Canadian and local volunteers)
- The candidate must demonstrate active and continued involvement in community volunteer activities
- The candidate must demonstrate characteristics of global citizenship—including respects and values diversity, and the willingness to act for equity and sustainability
Nominations can come from anyone within the YCI stakeholder community (e.g., YCI volunteers, local volunteers, alumni, local partner staff, YCI field staff, local Board Members). You can nominate more than one person. A combined team of YCI staff at HQ, board members and alumni volunteers will make the final selection for the Volunteer of the Year Award.
To nominate an individual, please choose the appropriate category and submit short answers (max. 50 words per question) to the following questions by January 31, 2014 to email@example.com:
1. Category: Local or International volunteer
2. Relationship of nominator to the nominee
3. Describe the impact of the nominee’s contribution while on project with YCI
4. Describe the impact of the nominee’s contributions at home in their local community
5. How has the nominee shown demonstrated integrity and professionalism?
6. How has the nominee been an inspiration for others?
I had forgotten how loud it can be here. From the radios blasting a mixture of Bongo Flava and Rihanna, to the endless horns of the daladalas announcing their arrival at the bus stops on the main road, to the call to prayer from the mosques surrounding the city, silent is one thing that Mwanza is not. Mwanza lies on the southern shore of Lake Victoria and is fondly known as Rock City due to the gigantic rocks that dot the landscape. It didn’t take long to get to know the city as I’ve had many opportunities to visit different city wards and districts since being here.
I’m here in Mwanza working with Mwanza Youth and Children Network (MYCN), a local youth based NGO, in their Information and Relations Department. It is said that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. For MYCN that single step taken by a group of committed youth in Mwanza back in 2009, with access to only the most basic of resources, has led to it flourishing into an organization that receives a great deal of respect from the community, government representatives as well as the national and international NGO community. To say that the staff at MYCN are dedicated is an understatement. Their commitment to their programs which ensure that Tanzanian children and youth have the opportunity to participate in and engage in sustainable development initiatives is inspiring. The staff, themselves still youth, recognize the extraordinary potential of young people to create change and their leadership fosters a great deal of excitement within those involved in their various programs.
Somehow I’m already coming to the end of my fourth week with MYCN. It always amazes me how fast time goes in places like Mwanza where things tend to move a little slower. Over the past four weeks I’ve definitely become a part of the MYCN team and we’ve been able to achieve a lot. I’ve been collaborating with the Information and Relations Officer of MYCN to increase the organization’s communications and networking capacity. One of MYCN’s programs is the establishment and support of school clubs throughout primary, secondary and post-secondary institutions in Mwanza, and in my first week we travelled to two high schools to provide social media training to the students in these clubs. I also provided the same training to youth involved in MYCN’s Young Reporters Network Program. These youth create their own weekly news programs and air them live every Saturday on Metro FM Radio and Barmedas TV here in Mwanza. Through their programs, they bring an often forgotten voice to media programming and discuss a wide range of topics such as current events and the rights of children and youth.
I have also had the opportunity to attend two community events with MYCN staff and youth. The first was in downtown Mwanza for the launch of the 16 Days of Activism to bring an end to violence against women and the second took place in the village of Igombe in celebration of World AIDS Day. In addition to this, I was able to present at the Children’s Agenda Coalition Meeting at MYCN which involved several other local NGOs and just this week we facilitated two Youth Conferences, involving students from four secondary schools, where MYCN facilitators taught the youth about human rights and violence against women as well as the goals of the We Can Campaign (a campaign which seeks to stop all forms of violence against women).
I have no doubt that the next few weeks will be filled with many more adventures and I can honestly say that I can’t imagine being anywhere else right now. It’s so encouraging to spend your days surrounded by such a positive, motivated and driven group of people. Everyday MYCN works to ensure that children and youth throughout Tanzania have access to the skills and resources that they need in order to contribute to sustainable development initiatives, and every day that I’m here, I’m thankful that I get to be a part of such a successful organization.
- Jessica Jackel, Youth Innovator, Tanzania, 2013
There is always a learning curve when it comes to a new job. It doesn’t matter if you are in your hometown or in a different country. It can take weeks, even months, to finally get your groove and fit in with the pace of the office. When that job is in another culture, it can take even longer. The downside of being a short-term volunteer is you do not have that luxury of taking that time to fit in. That time is your entire stay so as soon as you start to get comfortable, its time to leave.
In my weeks of volunteering with 4H Tanzania through Youth Challenge International, I was able to settle into my office and to a certain point my role as a Multimedia Innovator. I still face daily challenges – primarily the lack of constant electricity and Internet connection and my slow pace at learning Swahili. Many people here, including almost all the children, do not speak English and overcoming these barriers has been a tricky task.
Along with two program workers from 4H, I was able to visit seven schools and teach the children some aspect of filming and multimedia. The two program directors – Gudila and Magdalena, were able to translate for me and I have been lucky enough that I can let the pictures speak for themselves. During this visit, I allowed the children to interview each other as well as manually zoom and focus the camera. They would laugh and seemed to be interested in the pictures that I showed them. My plan is to take those videos and edit them for the website.
I have written a proposal to design a new website for the 4H organization so after I leave they will be able to upload pictures and keep an updated blog on their daily activities and events. I really want to be able to leave them with a successful multimedia guide so they will be able to show the world the incredible things they are accomplishing here and try to raise more funds for them.
I was initially slated to volunteer for nine weeks in Tanzania but have received permission to extend my stay to twelve weeks. 4H has asked me to extend it for longer – perhaps six months – but that number is still up in the air.
Hopefully by that time, I will have beat the learning curve.
- Alyssa McDonald, Youth Ambassador, Tanzania, 2013
It has been two weeks into our stay in Takoradi and our eighth in Ghana. Life cannot be any better than it is now. When looking at our project calendar for our Takoradi project, I felt slightly overwhelmed. We had a ton of workshops packed into six weeks. Now, as I sit here writing this, I realize that I am grateful for the amount of work that we have accomplished to this point. It has been a challenging few weeks here in Takoradi that have been characterized by constant workshops and meetings. The focal point for these past weeks has been customer service. We conducted three workshops for the wonderful girls at the local YMCA, as well as a workshop for local hotels and restaurants in the region, in collaboration with the Ghana Tourism Authority. Although planning for this event proved difficult and stressful, I feel that we pulled off a good solid workshop. This was demonstrated by the participative nature of the workshop, as well as in the comments and feedbacks that we received. It was great to see some of the top hotels in the region send their staff to the event.
What I really want to talk about though is in regards to the effort that we had to put into facilitating these workshops. I am grateful for Youth Challenge International in giving us the opportunity to employ our skill-set and to build upon it. This 12-week project in Ghana has truly put us to the test, especially in regards to planning, organizing and time management. At the start of the project I was a bit nervous and intimidated by some of the projects we would be working on. I kept asking myself whether I was good enough to do what was being asked of me and if I would do a good job? All of those initial fears of working in a cultural environment vastly different from my own have been alleviated. I am at a point now where I feel I have made a positive impact and that I have actually accomplished something. Eight weeks into our project, I feel more comfortable than ever. It has gotten to the point where I do not even want to go back to Canada. I really do hope that the next four weeks go by very slowly. I am very thankful to Youth Challenge International for giving me the opportunity to volunteer and come to such a wonderful place. My time here in Ghana has been truly amazing, as I have gotten the opportunity to immerse myself in the Ghanaian culture and take part in projects that are fulfilling and rewarding. Who knows, maybe I will come back someday…
- Yurii Malakhov, Youth Ambassador, Ghana, 2013